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Pro Tips for Hiking with a Hangover (According to a Bartender and a Physician)

I haven’t even put my truck into park before Derek swings the door open and jumps out. He post-holes his way through knee-deep snow over to the tree line and doubles over, retching into the pines. The trailhead hurl has become something of a tradition for Derek. The rest of us barely acknowledge it. We’re dealing with our own demons.

As I see it, this problem begins at home. Specifically, the distance between home and the trailhead. We live in Chicago, and that means driving great distances to get to our destinations for any true wilderness trip. We can’t just gear up after breakfast and be on the trail by 10AM.

The nearest wilderness area is 6 hours away.

Getting to the backcountry requires driving up and finding local accommodations the night before. That means there’s time to kill that evening, and the default method for the killing of said time is… to drink.

Among our group of friends, the “Hike-In Hangover” has become as much a part of our wilderness adventures as GoreTex or freeze-dried food. Whether we killed a growler of Founders around a campfire the night before a Manistee River paddling trip, or bar-crawled our way through Marquette, Michigan the night before snowshoeing into the Ottawa National Forest, it’s inevitable that most of us will wake up that first morning with some degree of regret. Sure, we still want to get close to nature—even if this sometimes means lying down on the cool ground and staying very, very still.

The Hike-in Hangover seems to get worse with age. And since simply “making better choices” is not in the cards, I will instead take a mature, scientific approach to this problem.

I’ve tapped the expertise of two qualified experts in the field: My friend and long-time drinking buddy, Dr. Michael Sullivan MD—a family practitioner and avid outdoorsman living in Watertown, Wisconsin; and Morgan Delaney—a fellow backcountry enthusiast and professional bartender at Spotted Bear Spirits, a community-minded craft distillery in Whitefish, Montana. Their shared wisdom might just be the tonic we’re all looking for.

Bleary-eyed hiking in the North Carolina High Country.
Bleary-eyed hiking in the North Carolina High Country.

Evan Castellano

Plenty has been written about hangover remedies. But, specifically for the outdoor adventurer, is there an approach that you’d recommend?

Dr. Mike: “As a physician, I obviously must warn against excessive alcohol consumption. Men should keep intake to 2 drinks daily. Women should keep this to 1.5 servings daily. The best approach to hiking with a hangover is avoiding a hangover in the first place.”

Bartender Morgan: “Chasing every drink with a tall glass of water – it won't kill your buzz, but it will make you a happier, more hydrated skier the next day.”

Are sports drinks any better than just drinking water?

Dr. Mike: “Water is always a good choice. Sports drinks can be better when you plan to be active, since you’ve depleted not only calories, but electrolytes.”

Bartender Morgan: “Sports drinks have a lot of sugar, so I find it is best to chase them with water. And then a shot of bourbon.” 

What about coffee?

Dr. Mike: “If you regularly consume coffee, skipping it may add to your hangover symptoms, like headache and shakes. However, I’d recommend consuming only a cup or two. Since coffee is irritating to the stomach and dehydrates, try to avoid.”

Bartender Morgan: “In the backcountry, coffee can be a blessing and a curse. It helps get camp broken down quickly, and gets you on the trail… But it is a diuretic.”

Did someone in this photo just make a beer toot? It's likely. Very, very likely.
Did someone in this photo just make a beer toot? It's likely. Very, very likely.

Evan Castellano

Do bready carbs help soak up alcohol?

Dr. Mike: “Carbohydrates do not ‘soak up’ the alcohol. But carbs are a good source of fast calories, and their bland nature tends to be easy on the gut. Since we are calorie deprived and our stomach is inflamed, carbs are typically a good choice for the day after.”

Bartender Morgan: “Whip me up some biscuits and gravy, flap jacks, eggs, and a side of bacon. But don't expect me to go anywhere the rest of the day.”

That’s the perfect segue into the ‘greasy food’ approach? A good idea before hiking or paddling with a hangover?

Dr. Mike: “The scientific answer is no. Going back to the idea of alcohol causing inflammation and irritation in the stomach, greasy foods are not recommended for a hangover, especially if you’re planning a 6-hour canoe or kayak trip. Let alone the availability of reliable facilities!”

Bartender Morgan: “Again, you want to be mindful of the weight you are carrying with you, be it on your back or in your bowels.  Once you hit the trails, dehydration and a heavy belly will make for a slow hiker.”

What about pain meds?

Dr. Mike: “In general, it is okay to take OTC pain relievers, but it’s important to avoid acetaminophen, as this is broken down by the liver and potentially toxic. Not a good idea considering you’ve just stressed your liver with alcohol.”

Bartender Morgan: “The best medicines to carry are Aspirin and, for those living in states where it's legal, cannabis.”

A big thing now is Pedialyte. Thoughts?

Dr. Mike: “Pedialyte is along the same lines as sports drinks. It has sugar and electrolytes which, again, you are depleted of. But I would strongly question a person who would bring Pedialyte on a backpacking or kayaking trip.”

Bartender Morgan: “Pedialyte is best utilized for the really bad hangovers. But in that case… The Baby's Alright cocktail: 1. Fill your cup with a handful of that slushy Spring alpine snow… 2. 2-3oz Pedialyte 3. 1oz vodka 4. Seltzer water or Ginger brew. If you have a water filter and/or trust your water source, that will work fine as well. Add a tab of Alka-Seltzer for carbonation.”

Does vomiting that morning help or hurt with a hangover?

Dr. Mike: “Vomiting only helps you if you feel nauseous and need to get it out. This occurs because of inflammation in the stomach, and high acid content. While it may temporarily make you feel better, it won’t speed things up. Do not induce vomiting. If nature takes its course, so be it.”

Bartender Morgan: “Vomiting the morning after is never a good sign. If you're going to hurl, do it the night before and then drink a lot of water.” 

Let’s pause here for a moment, because this brings up an interesting question. If—like us—you are a proponent of Leave No Trace ethics, then what exactly are the Leave No Trace guidelines for puking in the pines? Horking in the hills? Barfing in the bush? It’s not a situation we plan for, but it is human waste after all. So, I contacted Katie Keller, a Leave No Trace Master Educator based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

According to Leave No Trace principles, this would be an incredibly inappropriate place to hurl.
According to Leave No Trace principles, this would be an incredibly inappropriate place to hurl.

Liz Fieser

What are the Leave No Trace guidelines for upchucking?

Katie Keller, LNT Master Educator: “The principles behind ‘Dispose of Waste Properly’ with Leave No Trace still apply. If you have enough time, dig a cat hole 6-8 inches deep, that is at least 200 feet from all water sources, trails, and campgrounds. Or, if you have access to a bag or container, you could pack it out until you can properly dispose of it. Make sure that your disposal method is compatible with where you are. It is always a good idea to read Leave No Trace information related to specific ecosystems before you go.”

Turns out Derek has been doing it wrong for years. Words to ralph by, thanks Katie. Now, back to our interviews.

What about exercise? Sweating it out?

Dr. Mike: “Most of the data actually discourages exercise due to the fact that you are dehydrated, calorie depleted, and your GI system is inflamed. If you do exercise then you should overhydrate to compensate not only for your initial fluid depletion, but to account for fluid loss due to activity. Get calories as well.”

Bartender Morgan: “Extreme dehydration from a mix of outdoor activities and a night of drinking can cause substantial mental and physical fatigue, leading to poor decision making, injury, or worse…a Trump presidency.”

When you've reached the headache stage of the Hike-in Hangover, you know you're in trouble.
When you've reached the headache stage of the Hike-in Hangover, you know you're in trouble.

Evan Castellano

Does the temperature outside affect a hangover?

Dr. Mike: “The hotter it is, the more fluid you’ll lose. But be very careful in the winter as well. Our bodies don’t always give the same signs of dehydration in winter. You may not feel as thirsty, or sweat as much, but you’re still losing fluids.”

Bartender Morgan: “I've drunk during the summer in the desert and I've drunk in the winter above the tree-line. I prefer the latter, as the cold does seem to have anti-inflammatory effects. And being out in the dry, hot sun while hungover is not my idea of a good time.”

So, there we have it. Thanks to Dr. Mike and Bartender Morgan we can now approach our next backcountry bender with some degree of knowledge and preparedness. Fluids and calories: good. Acetaminophen and bacon sandwiches: bad. The only thing left to do is to field-test what we’ve learned. Whitefish, Montana is only 25 hours from Chicago. Last call at Spotted Bear is at 8PM. I sense a plan coming together.

Written by Patrick Burke for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Evan Castellano

The Fascinating History of Hueco Tanks, the Birthplace of Modern Bouldering

For anyone who loves to boulder, a pilgrimage to Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site is inevitable. And it’s no wonder: This beloved Texas landmark is considered the mecca of modern bouldering, with a style of climbing found nowhere else in the world, all set against the backdrop of stark desert and reddish-brown rock. It’s the birthplace of the V-grades, the national bouldering standard, and the first place where climbers flocked purely for the boulders rather than roped routes.

This ancient place also has a 10,000-year-old legacy, where prehistoric people hunted now-extinct bison, sought shelter, and performed sacred ceremonies commemorated on the rock through paintings. From early inhabitants to rock climbers, Hueco Tanks, which is located about 32 miles northeast of El Paso, is indeed a sacred space, one that every climber should visit to experience some of the best bouldering in the world.

Why Hueco?

Any climber will tell you that the rock at Hueco Tanks feels like it was made for climbing. Hueco’s boulders are bullet-hard, with features found nowhere else in the bouldering world, like the surfboard hold on the Moonshine Roof or the impressive Martini Cave. This ancient igneous rock provides a place for complex movement that’s gymnastic-like and physical, yet delicate and technical. It’s one of the best places in the world to climb complex roof problems and helps climbers develop a combination of technique and strength in their climbing.

The rocks at Hueco Tanks are actually a remnant of uplifted domes of molten rock that were weathered and eroded over millennia and now contain “huecos,” or “hollows.” The hollows refer to the depressions in the rock that are perfect for holding water, providing an oasis for plants, wildlife, and humans—and now for the hands, feet, and knees of rock climbers.

A Snapshot in Time

People of the Jornada Mogollon culture left a rich and distinctive legacy on the rocks during the roughly 1000 years that they occupied Hueco Tanks. Based on the large numbers of pictographs attributed to these people, it also appears that painting-as a ritual or artistic expression-played a large role in the lives of these foraging farmers. Among more sedentary people, the need for rain and favorable growing conditions for crops likely were critical concerns, expressed in rituals and conveyed through the painting of sacred symbols. Many of these symbols, thought to refer to water, lightning, clouds, and other natural elements, appear to hark back to more ancient times and far away places, where older cultures had similar concerns. At Hueco Tanks, these depictions, along with hundreds of masks, faces, dancing figures, animals, and other images, provide glimpses of the spiritual world of the Jornada Mogollon. #huecotanks #txstateparks #tpwd

A post shared by Hueco Tanks SPHS (@huecotanksstatepark) on

But Hueco hasn’t always been a rock climbing destination—humans have inhabited Hueco Tanks for millennia, leaving their mark on the area in the form of rock art paintings, or pictographs. The collection of rock art in Hueco is remarkable, with thousands of paintings by multiple groups over the course of 10,000 years.

Painted masks with almond eyes and square faces stare out from the rock, along with ancient Mexican gods resembling serpents or jaguars. Hunting scenes abound, with horned humans and tiny, delicate deer and mountain sheep. Mysterious wavy lines and abstract symbols from ancient humans still stump archaeologists.

More recently, modern nomadic Native Americans like the Kiowa and Apaches have left their mark, too, drawing pictures of elaborate victory dances and hunts. As European and Spanish traders entered the scene a few hundred years ago, Native Americans drew pictures of cattle, churches, horse riding, and people dressed in European clothing.

From Rock Art to Rock Climbing

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Today, the only new marks on the rock you’ll see in Hueco Tanks are chalk ones on bouldering holds. But Hueco wasn’t always a bouldering destination. Early climbers boldly tackled the surrounding cliffs using ropes, minimal trad protection, and the occasional bolt.

But over decades, climbers began exploring the bouldering potential of Hueco, and the results were impressive. In the 1970’s, Mike Head established the Mushroom Roof in Hueco, comparable in grade to Yosemite’s bouldering test piece of the time, Midnight Lightning. This was unprecedented—until that point, Hueco was just a local crag, and besides, bouldering was usually done to train for big-wall summits, not for its own sake.

But over the next decade, climbers headed in increasing numbers to Hueco, attracted to the pure joy of working and finessing moves on a small-scale environment, pushing their limits of strength, technique, and power as they topped out the boulders.

It wasn’t until climber John “Vermin” Sherman came to the scene in the 1980’s that the story of these desert boulders was forever changed. Sherman established more than 500 bouldering routes of varying difficulty, and soon, Hueco Tanks became the first major place in America where people gathered to boulder rather than to climb tall walls.

As the sport became more popular, the need for a bouldering guidebook began to emerge, and Sherman rose to the challenge, publishing Stone Crusade: A Historical Guide to Bouldering in America in 1994. His original manuscript didn’t include a grading system, because according to Sherman, “Numbers got no soul. People need to get over that stuff.” But his publishers required it, so he set about creating a grading system using the “V for Vermin” grades that he and his climber buddies had jokingly used to grade their first ascents. Joke or not, it was the first time in the U.S. that an open-ended grading system had been used for boulders, and it established Hueco as the standard setting area across the nation. Now, the V-grades are used throughout North America, at every climbing gym and in every outdoor bouldering area.

Red Tape and Playing by the Rules

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After Sherman’s guide came out, bouldering in Hueco blew up. Visitors swelled in the 1990’s as Hueco Tanks was featured in climbing magazines and established climbers came from around the world. But all that popularity came with a downside, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department became concerned with the impact that visitors were having on the vegetation, wildlife, and the potential harm to archaeological sites and pictographs. In 1998, park officials created the “Public Use Plan,” closing two-thirds of the park (East Mountain, East Spur, or West Mountain), unless visitors enter with a park-approved tour guide, and limiting access to the North Mountain to only 70 people a day.

To visit Hueco, it’s essential to plan ahead as early as possible. Call Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Hueco Tanks reservation line up to 90 days in advance to snag a spot. Once you have a reservation, show up at the park gate before 10 am to claim your spot, or call the parks to hold your reservation if you’re late. This will allow you to enter the North Mountain area, the only area open to self-guided visitors.

If you don’t have reservations for the North Mountain, there are two options for access: Show up at the gate before 8 am to wait in line for any open reservations (the park saves 10 spots a day for walk-ins), or come after 10 am, when all unclaimed spots open up. Tours meet at the front gate, and sometimes they’ll have open space and you can join.

The other way that people get into the park, and the only way in to East mountain, East Spur, or West Mountain is with a guide. The park’s guides take groups out bouldering or to see rock art, making sure that leave no trace ethics are followed and that park rules are closely observed.

There are two types of guides in the park: volunteer and commercial. Volunteer guides cost about $3 a person, but availability depends on the guide’s schedule. Call or check in at the park entrance to request a volunteer guide, and the park will let you know if a guide picks up the tour. Book a commercial tour if you need to guarantee availability, prefer to communicate with your guide regarding your ideal agenda for the day, and don’t mind shelling out up to $25 a person.

All visitors must pay the $7 entrance fee or purchase the annual Texas State Parks Pass for $70, which allows access to the park for everyone in the car.

Where to Stay and When to Go

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The most popular place to stay is the Hueco Rock Ranch, where climbers gather to hang out, share tips on boulders, and soak up the desert scenery. It’s $10 a night to camp ($5 for American Alpine Club members), or you can rent a bunk or private room. There are showers, a barn, sheltered communal cooking area, and fire pits for campers to enjoy.

Quieter camping can be found at Gleatherland, with great views, showers, a fire pit, and WiFi, all for $5 a night, but you’ll need advance reservations. Rent a private room or a bunk room at the Hueco Hacienda, and take advantage of the full kitchen, dining room and living room, as well as crash pad rentals, WiFi, and showers.

The best time to boulder in Hueco Tanks is November through April, and the most popular time is during January and February. It will be sunny during the day and chilly at night, so don’t forget your puffy jacket and slippers!

The Hueco Rock Rodeo bouldering competition hosted by the American Alpine Club, usually in February, is a lot of fun to attend, but you’ll want to book lodging and park reservations in advance.

Written by Jacqui Levy for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Alan Cressler

The Ultimate Weekend Getaway in Durango (No Matter What Kind of Traveler You Are)

There’s only one question you need to answer to determine whether Durango should be your next weekend getaway destination, and that’s whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, period. While Durango is a year-round destination, winter is a particularly good time to visit. Whether you enjoy skiing, snowmobiling—or even ice climbing—the region is filled with scenic options for enjoying the winter weather. It’s also got great restaurants, breweries, cultural and historic sites, and family attractions for those who want to enjoy a view of the snow from inside.

Founded when the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad arrived in the late 19th century, Durango was once a mining boomtown, with the hills chock-full of silver and gold. More than a century later, many of the mines are played out, but the area still has many finds—you just have to know where to look. Here’s where to go and what to do on a winter trip to Durango—regardless of what kind of traveler you are.

If You Like the Outdoors

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The frozen waterfall at Cascade Canyon near Durango is a popular spot for ice climbing.

Marcus Garcia

Looking for an action-packed winter weekend in the great outdoors? Start with Purgatory Resort, which has been drawing skiers for more than 50 years. Located just 25 miles north of Durango, the resort offers a unique blend of steep tree skiing and wide-open cruisers, both of which provide stunning views for lucky visitors who will enjoy fewer crowds and cheaper prices than at many other Colorado resorts (it’s been named North America’s Best Ski Value by TripAdvisor for three years straight). The runs at Purgatory are known for their character, with a high fun-factor as they twist down the mountain. Snowboarders will get a kick out of the seven terrain parks, and the state’s largest Snowcat skiing operation gives advanced skiers access to 35,000 acres of the San Juan backcountry.

At Purgatory, you can explore the backcountry another way by taking a snowmobile tour withSnowmobile Adventures. Professional guides will teach you how to ride and take you through more than 75 miles of trails, where you can play in vast meadows and take in the incredible views.Ice Pirates out of Silverton features snowmobile tours and rentals on its trail system that covers 55,000 acres in the San Juan Mountains, with a high point over 12,000 feet. Either choice will give you the ride of a lifetime, with unmatched views to enjoy.

For a quieter way to enjoy the outdoors, theVallecito Nordic Ski Club provides a groomed trail system for cross-country skiers about 20 miles northeast of Durango near the Vallecito Reservoir. You can rent equipment in town and take it to the trails, which offer plenty of terrain for any level of skier. Snowshoeing is another option to escape into the winter wonderland. Just about any hiking trail takes on a whole new life in the winter with a pair of snowshoes, and some of the more popular options in the region are the Colorado Trail, the Hermosa Creek Trail and the Falls Creek Trail.

For the truly adventurous, the frozen waterfall at Cascade Canyon is an excellent spot for ice climbing.Kling Mountain Guides offers beginner and intermediate ice climbing courses to get you started.

If You’re a Foodie

Believe it or not, Durango is home to more restaurants per capita than San Francisco. Durango’s no big city, but when it comes to having cultural experiences, it will give any larger city a run for its money. On your first night, stroll down Main Avenue, the town’s quaint main drag, to scope out your weekend’s must-eats. Spend the night at the historic Strater Hotel, where you can enjoy a range of award-winning dining, including two classic saloons. Durango dining includes French, Italian, Japanese, Thai, and, thanks to Durango’s proximity to New Mexico, phenomenal Mexican restaurants. The best breakfast of your trip will be at Oscar’s Cafe, and you don’t want to miss Seasons, the first farm-to-table restaurant in Durango, or the contemporary flair of Mutu’s Italian Kitchen.

If You Like Cocktails and Craft Beer

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Spend the evening at Ska Brewing, where you’ll have plenty of beer to choose from.

Visit Durango

Durango has a number of breweries, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not sure where to begin. If you’re staying at the Victorian-era General Palmer Hotel, you’re within walking distance of Carver Brewing Co., a brewpub with an extensive menu and beer list. The Colorado Trail Nut Brown Ale is a nice option on a winter night. Another option is Ska Brewing, which is known for its signature True Blonde or Pinstripe beers. On day two make for Durango Craft Spirits Distillery & Tasting Room, the first post-Prohibition distillery in the area. There’s also El Moro Spirits & Tavern, the site of Durango’s strangest shoot-out (ask your bartender about it). Or stop in at the Ore House for a handcrafted cocktail nightcap.

If You’re Traveling with Kids

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is great for families—not only do kids tend to jump at the chance to check out a train, but coaches also have bathrooms and concessions are available on the train, so you won’t be stranded with hungry, cranky kiddos. (Cars are also heated during the winter, so this is an option year-round.) After the train ride, head to Steamworks, known for its great food and family-friendly atmosphere and conveniently located just three blocks from the train depot and museum. On day two, sign on for snowmobile tour with a reputable local outfitter. This activity is great for families because it gives you a chance to get out farther than you otherwise might with little ones or grandparents.

Other options kids will also love include tubing at Purgatory Resort or exploring the Powerhouse Science Center, a museum located in an historic coal-fired, alternating current (AC) electric plant on the Animas River. You’ll find enough hands-on, interactive exhibits to keep kids entertained for hours.

If you’re looking for some relaxation, Trimble Spa and Natural Hot Springs is just seven miles north of town. It features two mineral-rich hot pools, plus a heated Olympic-sized swimming pool that’s open year-round. You’ll also find lodging options and spa treatments on the property, when you need that massage after a day of adventure.

If You’re a History Buff

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Head to Mesa Verde National Park to learn about and see first-hand the incredible cliff dwellings created by Ancestral Puebloans.

Ken Lund

For a dose of ancient history, head to Mesa Verde National Park, where you’ll learn about and see first-hand the incredible cliff dwellings created by Ancestral Puebloans. It’s believed that Mesa Verde (or “green table”) was seasonally inhabited by Paleo-Indians as early as 7500 B.C., likely because of its position 8,500 feet above sea level. The mesa was an ideal place for the Native Americans, providing an abundance of food and shelter (despite the barren-looking landscape, they were able to grow corn, beans and squash). While tribes and cultures inhabited the area off and on, the last known inhabitants were the Ancestral Pueblo people, from A.D. 600 to 1300. The cliff dwelling area is the main attraction in the park, and you are actually allowed to get up close and go inside some of the structures. There are hiking trails and the park is also popular for bird watching and stargazing. In the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is also available in the park, weather permitting. Plus, a guided Winter Ecology Hike helps you look for the park’s winter inhabitants. Check the park’s website for winter trail conditions to see what’s available.

Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated Media in partnership with Durango Area Tourism Office.

Featured image provided by Visit Durango

National Margarita Day – Margarita of the Year

It’s National Margarita Day! Do you know what this means?!? Yea, nothing really, but there’s this pretty rad competition that Patron holds every year that coincides with this day and I’m going to tell you all about it.

In honor of National Margarita Day, Patron has launched their annual Margarita of the Year competition, where people from all around the world compete to win… well, Margarita of the year. I know, it probably sounds uneventful, but these heavenly concoctions are far from that. See for yourself:

So, just to recap we’ve got:

  • CORALINA MARGARITA

    Red Wine & Hibiscus

  • MUMBAI MARGARITA

    Mango & Indian Spices

  • ENGLISH GARDEN MARGARITA

    Green Peas & Earl Grey Tea

  • TROPICANTE MARGARITA

    Mango & Fresh Avocado

  • HIGH PLAINS MARGARITA

    Charred Pineapple & Sage

  • PACIFIC RIM MARGARITA

    Coconut & Jalapeño

  • TIKI RITA

    Grapefruit & Tiki Spices

I know which one i’m voting for; if you think you’ve got the winner, you can vote for your choice here.

The Real Debate Tonight is What to Drink

All this political banter is making us more crazy, and more impatient than we appreciate; I am sure you can agree. These days, watching a white sheet dry is frankly more appealing than sitting through hours of a lemon faced, orange and an email scandal. I’ve come to realize at the end of each day, and each debate, I need a drink, and maybe you do too.

The greatest alternative to a boggled mind, is a calming cocktail (or three). Check out these 5 drinks that will put all your political worries at ease; you’re welcome.

  1. AMF – The Adios Mother F*ck3r is kind of a party pack of alcohols if you will, and probably the most intricate drink on our list. For good reasons. With vodka, gin, white rum and some blue curacao, sour mix and 7-Up, this mixed drink will definitely leave you with no worries when you’re done with it. Or thoughts or feelings for that matter.
  2. Chai Fireball Tea – Yea, you read that right. This is one of those weird Pumpkin Spice Latte things where you feel like a teenage girl while you’re drinking it, but its also really damn good so you choose not to care. Fix up a steaming pot of Chai, douse it with whiskey, and let the debate games begin.
  3. Cape Cod – Just like Cape Cod itself, this drink has got a hook. The cranberry juice and lime mixture are sure to reel you in, and the vodka is there to make you stay. and keep coming back. Night night.
  4. Paloma – Simple yet delicious, the Paloma is 3 parts grapefruit soda, 1 part tequila and a lime. Tune out the noise with this sour sipper and use the lime to practice your own DT squish face.
  5. Mai Tai – Saving the best for last, the ultimate mind calming cocktail, the Mai Tai. From the first debates in history to the ones at the end of time, this vacation in a cup will never get old. Tune in, Shake well, serve and repeat.

If one of these doesn’t sound appetizing enough for the big show, then you really should be more open minded. Work on it.

Outdoor Tech: FAQ

I decided to write this blog post due to the vast number of questions we get, on the daily, that are on repeat. If you are wondering who to contact if your product is broken or missing a piece, if you’re curious about our sponsorship program, or you would just like some good ole fashioned Yowie stickers, this is the place to be.

  1. My ODT product is no longer working/will not work/is missing a piece, who do I contact?
    • Please email our customer service department at support@outdoortech.com or call 310-677-0190. We will try our very best to help you in whatever situation you are in.
  2. I emailed/called customer support but have not received a response.
    • We take pride in our customer service, and we try our best to do a damn good job at getting you to where you want to be. Some days are busier than others so if you don’t receive a response, we didn’t forget about you, we will be with you shortly. Also, don’t hesitate to keep bugging us. We WANT to help you.
  3. Are your giveaways real? I never see that anyone wins.
    • Yes, our giveaways are 100% authentic and a winner is picked at random at the end of each one. We announce the winner on our Facebook page every Friday, so if you would like to see who won, please refer to our Facebook page.
  4. How do I enter your giveaway?
    • If you are on your mobile device, you can enter my clicking on the link in our Instagram bio, or by selecting the image associated with the contest post on our Facebook page. If you are on a laptop or desktop computer, you can go straight to the “Free Stuff!” tab on our Facebook page. This tab is located below our cover photo and above our status. You can also see our contests/who the winner is on our ODT Blog.
  5. What is going on with the Exoskeleton?
    • We want the Exoskeleton to be perfect, and if it’s not perfect, we won’t sell it to you. As soon as it is perfect however, it will be on our site for you to purchase.
  6. I am an amazing athlete and would love to be sponsored by you. How do I do that?
    • If you are big time you can email ryan@outdoortech.com and include an athlete resume and links to current content and social media posts.
  7. I would like to team up with your company for an event/giveaway/donation/etc. Who do I contact?
  8. I took some rad photos of Outdoor Tech stuff and would love if you could share them. Where can I send them?
    • Please feel free to tag us in any of your posts about Outdoor Tech on social, we love to share awesome content from our fans when appropriate. If you’ve taken photos that are just too good that you haven’t posted them on social media, you can email them to marketing@outdoortech.com and we will share them if appropriate. Just keep in mind, we can’t share everything.
  9. I would love some ODT stickers. How do I get some?
    • NEWSTICKERS
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    • Go for it, but why would you after reading this blog post?

6 Ways to Piss Off a Mountain Town Local

When you’re heading off for a ski vacation in the mountains, you’re bound to come into contact with varying degrees of locals*.

*The definition of local is a hotly debated topic that will be saved for another time.

Locals will check you into your hotel, tune your skis, pour your beer, and mend your sprained wrist. Get on their good side, and locals will also show you some sweet powder stashes, advise you on what activities are tourist traps, and let you in on the best place in town to grab a breakfast burrito.

And if you get on their bad side? Well, you’ll have to wait and see what that’s like. Here are 6 easy ways to piss off a mountain town local. (Warning: we are not responsible for the consequences of doing the following).

Don’t Tip
Money can’t buy you happiness: that’s the message you want to send to your server/bartender/cab driver/etc. Forget the fact that they’re overeducated and underpaid: they didn’t move to the mountains to make money. So after you’ve enjoyed a multi-course meal, asked for every modification humanly possible, and imbibed in custom-created cocktails, put a big fat zero on that tip line. Sign on the dotted line, give your server a thumb’s up for the great service, and go on your merry way.

Be a Know-It-All
You spent your lunch break scouring TripAdvisor and brushing up on your Wikipedia knowledge. Don’t let those facts go to waste. That guy you’re sharing the gondola with—the one who was born and raised in this very mountain town—doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Correct him about anything and everything, ranging from what time the mountain opens at to where they put the moguls in the summertime.

Be Condescending
“Aren’t your parents disappointed in you?” is a perfectly acceptable opener when talking with a mountain town local. Mountain town locals don’t make as much money as you, their house isn’t as pretty as yours, and their job title is totally lame (they probably don’t even have a business card). Assert your superiority, and don’t hide your smugness.

One Up Them
One of the best ways to piss off a mountain town local is to pull out the old bait-and-switch. Start conversing with them as though you actually care about what they have to say. Be kind, polite, and interested—then sweep the rug out from under their feet. Any time they express happiness or pride in their mountain town, one up them. “Yeah, the terrain here is okay, but it’s nothing compared to Chamonix.” “You think THIS is snow? Have you ever even been to Japan?” “This place is a hell hole. I don’t know how you live here.”

One easy way to rub salt in the wound is to throw in a casual post-remark, “No offense.”

Trash the Place
Being on vacation officially entitles you to throw away every shred of common sense and decency within your being. Don’t waste your time looking for a trash can—toss it on the ground! Drink ‘til you have to puke, and when you do, be sure to puke directly on a store window. Learn some tips from these guys—they know what’s up.

Announce Yourself
“Do you know who I am?” Those six magic words are the key to getting everything you want. Don’t be afraid to name drop the fact that your neighbor’s sister-in-law’s dad is the guy who runs the mountain… even if it isn’t true.

7 Things You Must Have to Survive a Blizzard at Home

I can actually think of about 30 things you really should have, but that’s counting a case of beer as 24 things.

Emergency Supplies

They say in a storm you should have batteries, candles, canned goods, fresh water, and firewood if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. This is all in case the power goes out, and they do have a point. My advice covers those storms where the power is on just the desire or ability to get to work seems missing.

Good Neighbors

To some it may be the guy with the snow blower. A good neighbor will clear off your sidewalk and driveway. A great neighbor will stay for a drink or three after he’s done. Good neighbors help one another: push your car when stuck, share food if you’re low, and help shovel snow if that snow blower doesn’t show up.

Food

OT_Blog_Featured_03It’s best to stock up because you never know how long you’ll be stuck at home. Milk, eggs, fresh veggies and fruit disappear first from your grocer’s shelves, and will soon after go bad on yours, so don’t even bother with those. Go for chips, cookies, burgers, and pop, you know: the 4 main food groups.

Alcohol

OT_Blog_Featured_04The second busiest store next to the supermarket before a blizzard is the liquor store. When the flakes start flying, the local liquor store makes the mall on Christmas Eve look like a slow day. Obviously I’m not the only one thinking this way. Beer and wine go first, then, if the warnings are serious, whiskey and vodka go next. Wine coolers never sell out but a run on peppermint schnapps is possible as visions of hot chocolate starts dancing in our heads.

Munchies

OT_Blog_Featured_05This doesn’t mean just food; you need quality munchies. Just like any other time you’re watching a movie you want munchies; it’s just, this time, you’re watching about 36 hours of movies. That means popcorn, chips, pop, and junior mints, the standard movie fare everywhere.

Movies

OT_Blog_Featured_06Used to be, when the forecast was ominous, we would head straight to the video rental store. Now that shows how long I’ve been at this. Nowadays I keep the DVR stocked up with recordings, and that’s just in case the dish goes out. Sure, some of you have streaming capabilities but, believe it or not, the internet can go down, or at least your provider does. I’ve heard people used to just sit around and read or actually talk to one another. Of course they also cooked over the fire and wore loincloths as well.

A Loving (or at least understanding) Partner

OT_Blog_Featured_07Okay, I admit, I’m not the easiest guy to get along with. Being shut-in with me for 2 or 3 days should merit some kind of medal. Actually, being shut in with anyone for an extended period of time can be brutal; they call it stir-crazy or cabin fever. She can only take so many times of me whining, “I’m bored.” That’s where the neighbors, the movies, and the alcohol really come into effect. All three offer her some form of escape.

6 Ways to Survive a Rainy Day on the Mountain

Forecasts of precipitation in your favorite ski town are usually a good thing—after all, the magic equation is precipitation + cold = pow.

But if you remove the cold element from that equation, you’re left with a slightly nastier result: rain.

No matter how you frame it, a rainy day on the mountain kind of sucks. You’ll get soaking wet pretty quickly, and the snow that’s already on the mountain will get heavy and weird (or melty and miserable).

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, whip up a tasty batch of lemonade. Here’s how to make lemonade from soggy mountain conditions.

Gear Up

OT_Blog_Featured_01Continuing with the grandpa sayings, there’s no such thing as bad weather—there’s just bad clothing. In other words, if you’re wearing the right stuff, you can have a good time in just about any condition. So bust out the GoreTex and pack along an extra pair of gloves and go skiing.

If you don’t feel like springing a month (plus) of rent on waterproof snow gear, you could always resort to the old fashioned garbage bag poncho. If it’s good enough for the lifties, it’s good enough for you.

Switch Your Stick(s)

OT_Blog_Featured_02If the rainy conditions limit you to groomers or if you know that it’s unlikely that you’ll last more than a few hours up top, have a little fun with it. Get everyone in your posse to switch their sticks: if they usually snowboard, have them pick up a pair of skis, and vice versa. Laugh at each other as you flail madly down the mountain in unfamiliar gear. Given that you’re learning in horrible conditions, you’ll undoubtedly walk away with full confidence that your initial gear of choice is by far the best.

Get High

OT_Blog_Featured_03Unless you’re experiencing some funky inversion action, the general rule of thumb is that the higher you go, the colder it gets (duh). So if it’s pouring down low, it just might be snowing like crazy up in the alpine. If you get really lucky, you might get the most magical pow day of all time—and the lift lines will be non-existent, since the rain will have scared the masses away.

Just Give ‘Er

OT_Blog_Featured_04Of course, there’s always the option to just suck it up, buttercup. You’ve come this far to go skiing—are you really going to let a little rain scare you off?

Remember what’s waiting for you at the end of the day: a warm shower, a cold brew, and a hot plate of nachos. Keep that in mind as you power through soggy lap after soggy lap, you hardcore snow sporter.

Give Up and Be Lazy

OT_Blog_Featured_05If you can’t stomach the thought of spending your money on a lift ticket to shred in horrible conditions, then give up on the dream and make other plans. Throw on your rattiest pair of sweatpants, invite some friends over (instruct them to bring snacks and pizza), and indulge in a marathon session of ski movie watching. The powder on the screen is definitely better than the non-existent powder outside.

Give Up and Go Crazy

OT_Blog_Featured_06Too much pent up energy to spend the day on the couch? Then get creative and enjoy the other aspect of a ski town: the partying. Plan your own original pub crawl: aim to try every drink on the menu between your crew, or hop from bar to bar and order their signature beverage.

There you have it: the proverbial ski town lemonade.